Muve Music Now Has 1.7 Million Paying Subscribers In the US…

Not all of those 1.7 million subscribers are necessarily using Muve Music.  But then again, every single one of them is paying for Muve Music as part of a bundle.  Which makes Muve Music the largest on-demand subscription service in the US, potentially by a substantial margin.


Muve owner Cricket Communications is dumping some gasoline on this flame.  The just-launched Muve Music 4.0 features all sorts of nice enhancements, including better navigation, quicker playback, and curatorial touches like Muve Mixes.

The growth spurt shifts the focus towards a totally different, mobile-bundled model.  Daisy (by Beats by Dre) seems very interested in pursuing this path, and both Spotify and Deezer have similar arrangements in various territories.  But Spotify and Deezer also focus heavily on creating direct customer relationships, which is a damn expensive path.

The reason is that for all of their hefty gains, market leaders like Spotify (and Deezer outside the US) spend vast sums of money attracting and retaining those subscribers.  That includes subsidizing enormous amounts of free listening, and dealing withextremely high churn rates.


“I think when you introduce price into the equation it gets very hard for most people.  The second that you require plastic, you shrink the global opportunity for the consumption of music to a very small percentage of the population.  And that’s a fundamental barrier.”

Muve founder Jeff Toig, SF Musictech Summit, February, 2012.

10 Responses

  1. Toig an anticapitalist?!
    Toig an anticapitalist?!

    How much is Jeff Toig’s monthly salary? He seems to dislike money so much I wonder if he works for free. Poor guy, maybe we should all make some donations so that his family doesn’t starve.

    • Visitor

      toig’s one of a very small amount of people who have built a financially healthy streaming music service.

      • Visitor

        I don’t trust people who are related to PricewaterhouseCoopers. They are well known for their money laundering skills.

  2. wallow-T

    I think you misunderstood Jeff Toig’s quote. He isn’t aiming to give music away for free; he’s aiming to find big-pocketed companies to pay for the music and bundle the music in another consumer purchase so it “feels like free.”

    • Visitor

      Yeah, Peter Gabriel tried that a few years ago and the company went down faster than a North Korea satellite.

  3. Me

    That’s nice. We still earned more than 14 times as much from Spotify last month than Cricket.

  4. jw

    I don’t think the future of streaming is exclusively mobile. It just doesn’t make sense. AT&T and Verizon have both moved away from unlimited data plans, suggesting it’s not extremely cost effective. I can only listen to Spotify via AT&T when I’m in my car. Otherwise I’m streaming music via wi-fi on my laptop, which is the vast majority of the time.
    Given that it seems to be an exclusively mobile platform, I have to believe that a service like Muve gets significantly fewer plays per subscriber than a service like Spotify. As successful as it appears to be, I’m not convinced that it will scale, & I’m not sure that these numbers are really telling the whole picture.
    Then again, I’ve never met anyone who’s used the service, or Cricket mobile for that matter. The carrier serves such a specific socio-economic group that I have a hard time gauging what their impact on the streaming space truly is. I’d love to see total # of monthly plays per user, versus a service like Spotify, & what percentage of those plays are urban, versus Spotify.
    I see AT&T’s interest in Leap being in their urban marketshare, & their pay-as-you-go marketshare, not Muve. I just don’t see it scaling.

  5. danwriter

    No mention here of AT&T’s announced acquisition, on 12 July, of Leap, the parent of Cricket. The consensus seems to be that the buy is motivated by AT&T’s desire for Cricket’s spectrum. Muve may be viewed as extraneous and spun off. As noted, the big US wireless carriers aren’t particularly enthralled about being music distributors.

  6. Paul Resnikoff
    Paul Resnikoff

    There’s a lot more to this story, including the planned spin-off of Muve Music. A lot of the above comments are on the right track here.
    I haven’t seen any financials broken out, so it could be regarded as a black box in many senses.
    Let me point to this WSJ article, just to start.
    Leap Wireless to Spin Off Muve Music Unit
    “Leap Wireless International Inc. plans to spin off its Muve Music service into a separate company, as the carrier attempts to turn around its struggling core business of providing pay-as-you-go wireless service.”
    This points to some potentially interesting issues related to the lower-income target:
    “After seeing its traditionally lower-income customer base hit hard by high unemployment, Leap embarked on a major business overhaul to draw in higher-income customers by selling smartphones and offering more-attractive flat-rate terms. The company hasn’t reported a quarterly profit since 2007, except for the third-quarter, which benefited from a large gain on the exchange of spectrum licenses.”


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